Over £20k raised for family of boy, 13, after skatepark fall caused traumatic brain injury

  • ITV Central's Rosie Dowsing investigates the struggle of a family affected by a freak skateboarding accident.

The father of a 13-year-old boy from Birmingham who is in hospital with a brain injury after an accident at a skate park, says his life was saved by his helmet.

Oly Yorke had been skating at Creation Skatepark in Moseley for 9 years before a fall on Tuesday 13 February left him unconscious.

The Cadbury Athletic Under-13s player was in a coma for three days and since waking up, he has been at Birmingham Children's Hospital for three weeks.

He is unable to use the left side of his body, and will need to learn to walk again.

The next step in Oly's recovery is the hope of a transfer to a specialist centre in Tadworth in Surrey where he could be doing intense physio and rehab for up to eight hours a day.

His dad Warren Yorke says he is desperate to see Oly be able to do the sports he loves again, such as skateboarding, cycling, football and swimming.

He said: "He can't use the left side of his body at the moment, and he's lost weight.

"I think he is doing well, but personally I want him doing more. I want him to be able to move his hands, his arms, and his legs. To be able to sit up in his bed. I know it will come."

It is every parent's worst nightmare, but Warren says the outcome would have been even worse had Oly not been wearing his helmet.

Warren said: "I don't think he would be here, I seriously think his helmet has helped him still be here."

"As long as he has ridden a bike or scooter, he has worn a helmet. Even if you're going to school and back, it is the most important thing.

"At the skatepark, it saved his life."

The transfer to the Children's Trust in Surrey will be a huge cost for the family.

Although Oly's treatment will be NHS funded, he will need a parent with him throughout the course of rehabilitation - and the hospital is a 2.5 hour drive away from their home in Kings Heath.

Warren and his wife Clair are self-employed and share a business, which they are trying to juggle alongside constant trips to the hospital.

He said: "The funding doesn't pay our salary, it doesn't feed us. There will be a bed for us there to be with Oly to help him and support him.

"But it's just so tough that it is two and a half hours away. It is already killing us to go to Birmingham Children's Hospital every day. It's the fuel, it's the parking."

Oly plays for Cadbury Athletic FC - who have started a fundraiser for his family. Credit: Family handout

To the family's surprise, an online fundraiser was started by Oly's football team Cadbury Athletic FC - and it has reached more than £20,000 in just a matter of days.

It reads: "We are trying to take away any additional load or stress on Oly’s family by creating a page to raise some funds to help towards Oly’s rehabilitation, vital treatment, recovery and supporting his family."

Warren says the family are both humbled and incredibly grateful.

"I'm eternally grateful, I wouldn't have even thought of a fundraiser. We are super humbled and grateful for their help."

Despite the traumatic nature of Oly's brain injury, Warren says he is making progress.

He narrowly avoided needing to have invasive surgery on his brain, and now after a number of weeks he has been able to eat and shower, with people helping him.

Warren says he has every hope that his son's determination will see him get through the long road to recovery that lies ahead.

"I have every single hope in my body that he will be back, I know he will."

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